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John's Journal... Entry 103, Day 3


P-Arrow Plantation Becomes a Reality

Click to EnlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Drayton Pruitt of Livingston, Alabama, considers hunting and fishing not recreations that he participates in but also the two outdoor sports he's passionate about. The fields, the land and the lakes where Pruitt grew up hunting and fishing as a boy he worked to buy as a man. Once he purchased the land and the water, he then set out to produce hunting and fishing experiences for today's sportsmen of the type and the quality that he knew in his youth. According to Pruitt, "In the old days, you could find 10 to 20 coveys of quail in a day of hunting. You could also catch many big bass in the farm ponds around Livingston. But as timber practices, farming practices and urbanization changed the face of the landscape, this region lost much of that rich hunting and fishing heritage. Through using the best wildlife-management practices available, we set out to develop a quail-hunting preserve and a bass-fishing program to rival any in the nation."

Click to EnlargePhillips: Why did you decide to convert your farm ponds and catfish ponds into trophy bass lakes?
Pruitt: I had catfish ponds already established, and I was having recreational quail hunts for friends and family on the property. And after watching a video Ray Scott produced on how to build and manage ponds for trophy bass, we decided to convert our catfish ponds into trophy bas lakes. But I didn't want to have all my ponds look exactly the same. I knew I'd get bored fishing the same type of lake every day, and I thought my customers would too. So we tried to make every pond different and special. Then the anglers who came to P-Arrow could tell us how they wanted to fish for bass, and we could take them to a pond set up for their style of fishing.

Phillips: Tell me about the ponds on your property.
Pruitt: I know the Brewer pond is more than 65 years old, because I fished in it when I was a child. This small pond has the native strain of Alabama largemouth bass in it. It also homes shellcrackers and bluegills. This old pond is part of our history. If a fly-fisherman likes to catch bass and bream, then this pond will let him do that. It also has some really big bass in it.

Click to EnlargePhillips: One of your newer ponds is the Horseshoe Pond. How big is the pond, and how did you build it?
Pruitt: This pond is 35 acres and is loaded with cedar trees and stocked with big fish. We initially stocked the lake with grown fish that weighed from 2 to 6 pounds each. Within two years, we were catching 10- to 12-pond bass out of it. That was a phenomenal growth rate for any body of water.

Phillips: Why were you able to grow big bass so quickly?
Pruitt: I had originally built this pond to commercially grow crawfish. I stocked it with crawfish, but I soon learned I wasn't a really good crawfish farmer. But apparently, a large number of the crawfish stayed in the lake. So, when we started adding the bass, the bass developed a real appetite for crawfish. For the first two years when we fished this lake, every bass we caught was loaded with crawfish in its belly. If you're considering building a pond to grow big bass, you may want to think about putting crawfish in the pond first. These crawfish seemed to jump-start the pond and put weight on mature bass quickly.

Phillips: What else are you doing to grow bass to trophy size in a short time?
Pruitt: We're feeding our bream high-protein pellets out of a feeder. The more protein the bream eat, the more protein the bass will get when they feed on the bream. We've also added tilapia to the lake. The tilapia grow well and are a good food source for the bass through the spring and summer, but then they die off in the fall, which keeps your ponds from becoming crowded. Our ponds are under a strict management program to try and grow the biggest bass that we can grow as fast as we can grow them. We can ensure a quality fishing experience for anglers who choose to fish with us.

Click to EnlargeFor more information, write to P-Arrow Plantation at P.O. Box 1037, Livingston, Alabama 35470; call (205) 652-7990 or (800) 949-7990; e-mail parrowplantation@aol.com; and go to www.bitzandpieces.net




Check back each day this week for more about P-Arrow Plantation...

Day 1 - P-Arrow Plantation
Day 2 - Catch Big Bass Every Day
Day 3 - P-Arrow Plantation Becomes A Reality
Day 4 - Coyote Lake
Day 5 - Other P-Arrow Lakes and Quail Hunting

John's Journal